A few weeks back I had been to the Indian embassy at Bern to renew my passport and having finished my work by noon. With all day spare I decided to visit the popular points of interest in Bern.
Bern was founded in 1191 by Duke Berchtold V of Zähringen. He is supposed to have said that the new city would be named after the first animal to be found on a hunting expedition in the woods. Luckily it was a bear (Bär in German, plural Bären, or Baeren) and thus how Bern got its name.
While all of Switzerland is beautiful but among major cities I found Bern so untouched on being commercial and urban. I will list down the major places I visited.
I wanted to see the history museum but since it was a Monday all museums were closed. I thus headed to the Altstad (means the old city). A 20 minute beautiful walk from the embassy and I reached Altstadt.
Zytglogge:The Zytglogge tower is a landmark medieval tower in Bern, Switzerland. Built in the early 13th century, being 800 years old it has served the city as guard tower, prison, clock tower, centre of urban life and civic memorial.
The tower clock is quite at at the city square with plenty of restaurants around. After a quick search on my phone I came across Kornhauskeller which had very good reviews and was a fine dinning restaurant in a cave.
I ordered a spinach and ricota ravioli and a tomato risota and trust me I have had awesome Italian food and this was by far the best risotto I have relished.
Kornhauskeller had a beautiful setting, though dark the place is very elegantly set. The restaurant serves and amazing collection of wine and wide choice of Italian and Swiss food.
It is right opposite the Kindlifresserbrunnen (child eater fountain). The fountain sculpture is a sitting ogre devouring a naked child. Placed at his side is a bag containing more children. Because the ogre is wearing a pointed hat resembling a Jewish hat, it has been speculated about the possibility of the ogre being the depiction of a Jew as an expression of blood libel against Jews.
Another theory is that the statue is the likeness of Krampus, the beast-like creature from the folklore of Alpine countries thought to punish children during the Christmas season who had misbehaved.
Next destination was the Bern Minster which is Swiss Reformed cathedral, (or minster) in the old city of Bern, Switzerland.
Built in the Gothic style, its construction started in 1421. Its tower, with a height of 100.6 m (330 ft), was only completed in 1893. It is the tallest cathedral in Switzerland and is a Cultural Property of National Significance.
It was very quiet and such a solace to my heart. The church is very beautiful inside and the view from the Minster Terrace is to die for.
After a quick tour in and around the cathedral I headed to the Parliament of Switzerland which is known as Federal Palace of Switzerland. Since mine was not a planned trip I wasn’t really sure if I would get to see the insides.
There were a lot of college groups who had come to visit the parliament and after a wait of 45 minutes and thanks to my german speaking skills I was let in. It has a very modest interior and is massive.
The dome depicts the various cantons of Switzerland and I was quick to recognise mine, Basel Stadt.
There was a lot of walking and of course the Swiss would offer me a seat in the parliament (pun unintended). I also got to see a live session where they were passing an international bill. No pictures were allowed to be clicked there.
While trying to find a place to cool my heels and just one hour in hand I decided to call it a day and head back station. However I bumped into a tuktuk with and Indian driver who offered me a trip to the bear park which sounded very tempting and I hopped on. On the way he told me that he did be in Bern for 12 years now and still of course misses India (like I do).
Bärengraben: The Bern bear pit is an attraction that is known far beyond the borders of Switzerland. Since 2009 the bears of Bern also have a modern 6,000 square meters park at their disposal – which they can reach via a tunnel.
I went down the tunnel to see the bears and then the water was so inviting that I tried giving myself a foot spa. The river flowed very heavy and i dipped my feet in freezing water now and then.
After reading a chapter on my kindle, I put on my sneakers and left for the rose park which was across the road but uphill.
In summers the sun does not set until 21.00 and thus I could not get great pictures of the mesmerising view of the city from atop the hill. The rose were not too interesting and but the coffee shop was. I enjoyed the view over a cup of coffee and headed for the station.
The day was all worth the trip. Now I am tied as I can’t move out of Switzerland till my passport arrives.
Stay Happy and Travel!
Additional History information: Wikipedia
Image Source: Sunshineandzephyr (Shweta Dave), please do not consider this papa ka maal and copy it 🙂 I am generous, I me I may allow.
Special note: all pictures are clicked on my iphone 6 S plus.